Joris van Eekhout: Dimes and quarters

Growing up in Amsterdam North on the 8th floor of the Wipmolen flat in Molenwijk. As the oldest and keenly studious son within a multicultural family (father from Indonesia, mother from Switzerland), where we had to make ends meet every month, I was regularly addressed by the adults around us with the words: “Joris, never forget -‘wie voor een dubbeltje geboren is, wordt nooit een kwartje’.”

Which is a common Dutch saying that means: ‘whoever is born for a dime, will never be a quarter.’ My answer to this was always “why on earth not?”

Back then, in addition to his job as a municipal civil servant, my father decided to drive around town with his own food truck on weekday evenings so he could sell his own home-made saté. Our whole family worked together enthusiastically on this despite our moderate success. And so I learnt as a matter of course, that you could at least try to transcend your own and imposed ‘limitations, prejudices, boundaries’.

Read here my complete CV.

In order to challenge the status-quo

Encouraged by the loving support of my parents, I took the opportunity to be the first and only one in the family to go off and study. My first experience in the field of change management I gained when, as a young interim manager (fresh out of school, 24 years old), I successfully rescued a small company in the metalworking sector from bankruptcy.

With the implementation of the new business plan I had developed, sales grew steadily (+50%) and in just over a year and a half, we were back to being viable again with healthy prospects for further growth.

Transformation and potential

I like to look beyond someone’s specific role; I assume that people are always able to do a bit more than they think that they can or that they are expected to do. As a regional manager within the Dutch glass sector, I was commissioned to form the first and largest region of trade and business transformation companies.

Under my leadership, our successful ‘Customer Intimacy’ strategy was rolled out, based on my vision that every employee in the organisation is a salesperson.

In order to improve stable employment and encourage ‘hidden’ talents and qualities, I have created an internal job carousel. Whereby many employees across the various branches were given a new position.

We have celebrated many smaller and greater successes, whereby the dynamics within the region, employee/customer satisfaction and cooperation between the branches were all significantly improved.

The operational and financial results were also achieved that way in line with the objectives.

Freedom and adventure

My entrepreneurial and people-oriented attitude came in handy during the difficult economic conditions (during the construction and financial crisis).

I have gained extensive experience when it comes to reorganisations, mergers and divestments of business units and departments – without ever losing touch with the human side of the situation.

Also, as general manager of an industrial manufacturer (the local market leader), I have learned to navigate a successful course through a complex competitive international context.

How to successfully maintain a strong retail price policy in the face of highly volatile raw material prices. As a result, profitability grew by double-digit percentage points year on year.

 

You are probably thinking: “That sounds too simple to be true?!”

At your place, the daily intractable practice looks different. You are already happy that you are able to find and keep enough people on board to do the work.

Let’s keep it simple. You can just hire me for that.

With over 25 years of successful experience in commercial and managerial positions with Profit & Loss final responsibility. I have very often been employed as a change manager for the implementation of reorganisations, improvement processes and business unit mergers. With the aim to make the business more customer-oriented, productive, cost-effective and profitable.

Although time and again each situation differed in terms of complexity, my no-nonsense approach has without a doubt proven to be successful and effective.

My view is that the success of customer focus revolves around the establishment of a spirit of entrepreneurship among your employees.

I prefer to do this within a senior executive management role with a commercial profile in the manufacturing industry, B2B, as well as the building materials sector and trade. At international groups, mid-sized enterprises or family businesses.

Available for projects, interim-assignments and/or permanent contract.

My approach leads to greater customer satisfaction, more profit and an enterprising, decisive and future-proof organisation with committed employees.